Schengen - Accession to Schengen is a major priority for Romania, the Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu said today in Bucharest. He mentioned that Romania counts on the support of the Swedish presidency of the EU. The head of the Romanian diplomacy recalled, in the press conference organized by the Swedish Embassy, on the occasion of taking over the Presidency of the EU Council on January 1, the way in which Romania managed the situation created by the war in Ukraine, showing that it was a "de facto guardian of EU security". In turn, the Swedish ambassador to Bucharest, Therese Hyden, pointed out that "the Schengen file will be on the agenda of an official meeting, when the conditions are favorable", namely when Austria changes its position regarding Romania, and the Netherlands changes its position regarding Bulgaria. On this topic, on Wednesday, Bogdan Aurescu had a telephone conversation with his Swedish counterpart, Tobias Billstrom. According to the Romanian Foreign Ministry, Tobias Billstrom emphasized that the Swedish Presidency is determined to be actively involved and make every effort to achieve this objective, by identifying concrete solutions, based on a constructive dialogue with all parties involved, as well as to support Romania’s efforts towards the completion of the accession. We remind you that on December 8, 2022, at the Justice and Homes Affairs Council, Romania was not admitted to the Schengen area, due to the opposition of Austria and the Netherlands. The Austrians voted clearly against, and the Dutch decided to accept the accession of Romania, but not of Bulgaria, the two countries being analyzed on a common file.
Ukraine - Romania and Ukraine will start a consultation process on the law of national minorities in Ukraine, a document recently adopted and promulgated in Kyiv. The foreign ministers of the two countries, Bogdan Aurescu and Dmitro Kuleba, discussed this topic on the phone on Wednesday, after a similar dialogue took place a week ago between presidents Klaus Iohannis and Volodymir Zelenski. The law caused the concern of the Romanian authorities, because the representatives of the Romanian community in Ukraine were not consulted in the process of drafting the document, which was adopted without an opinion from the Venice Commission. Even if the law represents an improved version in relation to the previous projects analyzed by the Parliament in Kyiv, it does not guarantee, among other things, the right of the Romanian minority to education in their mother tongue, the Romanian diplomacy shows.
Tennis - The Romanian tennis players found out their opponents in the first round of the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tournament of the year. According to the drawing of lots that took place today in Melbourne, Irina Begu will meet the Chinese Saisai Zheng, Sorana Cîrstea will take up the uncomfortable Kazakh player Iulia Putinteva, and Ana Bogdan will take on the Hungarian Anna Bondar. Jaqueline Cristian will have one of the most difficult opponents - the American Jessica Pegula and Patricia Ţig will be up against the Chinese Shuai Zhang. Romania has five players at the Australian Open, after Simona Halep was provisionally suspended after a positive anti-doping test, and Gabriela Ruse, Irina Bara, Gabriela Lee and Alexandra Cadantu-Ignatik failed in the qualifications.
Timisoara - The city of Timișoara, in western Romania, became the European Capital of Culture in 2023. At the beginning of this week, in Athens, it took over, along with Elefsina (Greece) and Veszprém (Hungary), the prestigious title. These cities join the over 60 cities selected in previous years, both from across the EU and beyond. Throughout the year, the European Capitals of Culture will celebrate culture through events, exhibitions and performances. In Timișoara, the official start of the events will take place between February 17 and 19. We remind you that Sibiu (center) was the first Romanian city designated European Capital of Culture in 2007 - the year when Romania entered the European Union.
Export - Romania exported, in the first nine months of last year, cereals and cereal-based products worth almost 3.78 billion euros, on the rise by 41.2% as compared to the similar period of 2021, show the data centralized by the National Institute of Statistics. The largest exports were recorded in March and amounted to a little over 619 million lei. On the other hand, in the period January-September 2022, Romania imported cereals and cereal-based products worth 1.27 billion Euros (+23.5%). Thus, in the first nine months, the trade surplus stood at 2.5 billion Euros. (LS)